Be Aware of Premature Judgement in Innovation

by Dr. Evans Baiya and Ron Price

Every idea has potential, so if right now you have a single idea, that is a start. In many cases, the full potential of an idea is not evident and may not be fund in the original problem it was intended to solve. This means you cannot put restrictions on the ideas; understand and acknowledge each idea and its potential without limiting its application. 

A common mistake that kills potentially great innovations is the abandonment of ideas or projects if the desired outcomes are not met the first time after implementation. In other cases, innovative ideas are prematurely judged to be abandoned based on past experiences. Past experiences do not always guarantee current or future failures since the times, circumstances, team compositions, market conditions, etc., keep changing. In many companies, a project failure at some stage in the innovation stopped it with the original idea, and the work to identify the problem worth solving and any steps toward the solution were wasted. Instead, companies should work to understand the component of the project that led to undesired outcomes and keep looking for the original idea or variation. Sometimes this is called a “pivot”. 

Preconceived ideas about how to build and sell an innovation, who will buy it, or why they will buy it are often wrong. To understand what caused the specific outcomes and what aspects of the project still have merit, you must clearly understand what your testing and research are telling you. 

Often, the successful new project worth working on comes from the combination of ideas, or the application of an idea created in one arena to a problem in another. Innovation is an iterative exercise propagated by learning and feedback, and it never ends. A new idea can be the beginning of a new ecosystem and a source of a new value for your organization. 

*Excerpted from The Innovator's Advantage: Revealing the Hidden Connection Between People and Process.

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